Torres del Paine

Chile
February-March, 2011

One of the world's most famous and renowed treks. We had high expectations but wasn't dissappointed :) We made the full circuit (Circuito Grande) which took us 7 days (plus one day where we stayed in one place, waiting for the rain to stop). To me it's unbelievable how one such small area can contain so many amazing sights.


Day 1

Walking directly from the park entrance to the first campsite.
Almost flat walking on rolling, grassy hills, with long views.

 

Plenty of edible berries

 
 

Day 2: To Lago Dixon

Very scenic day, with some nice lakes.

 

First we followed a river.

 
 

We were warned that this pass would be windy, but was still surprised how incredibly strong the wind was up here. We had to fight hard for every step, and even blew over and fell a few times!

 
 

A nice lake

 
 

A weird sky full of twirling movements.

 
 

Day 3: To Los Perros

This day was also nice, but it rained too much for taking photos. We walked through very nice forest and reached a picturesque lake with a glacier.


Day 4: To Glacier Gray

A wonderful day over the Gardner pass, then walking along the impressive glacier to a campsite.
 
 

On the way up to the Gardner pass.

 
 

Crossing the Gardner pass, all of a sudden this gigantic glacier, called Glaciar Gray, appeared beneath us! It comes down from Hielo Sur - one of the largest ice-masses in the world outside the poles.

 
 

This peak reminded me a little bit about Kebnekaise (the highest peak in Sweden)

 
 

A view of the ridge which separates this valley from Valea Frances

 
 

 

 
 

View of Glaciar Gray from a viewpoint near our campsite.
In the evening we saw a huemul (a rare deer) walking straight through the camp between the tents.


Day 4: To Campamento Italiano

 
 

When ice breaks off from the glacier,
it floars out into the lake.

 
 

 

 
 

Last view back towards the glacier

 
 

First view of Los Cuernos ("the horns")

 
 

Day 5: Campamento Italiano, rest day

 

This day it was raining heavily and since we didn't want to continue without visiting Valea Frances in clear weather, we decided to stay and wait until the next day, hoping that the weather would improve.

Campamento Italiano was not a nice place to spend a day in the rain. The whole place was just mud and water. And since the toilets were locked, people would do their business all around the campsite. There is a tiny cooking shelter, but it was filled with mud and water as well. So we just stayed in our tent...

 

We saw a bird of prey that tried to catch a mouse. Shortly after, the mouse came into our tent vestibule. It was very slow and weak, and the next morning it was dead.

 
 

Day 6: Valea Frances - Los Cuernos

 

Nice forest in the Valea Frances valley

 
 

First view of the interesting peaks

 
 

Valea Frances.
These very sharp peaks have suitable names, such as "the cathedral" and "the shark fin".

 
 

A close-up of "the shark fin"

 
 

Los Cuernos ("the horns") in Valea Frances

 
 

Paine Grande is the highest peak in the area (3050 m). It's near vertical walls and numerous glaciers and waterfalls, makes it look very impressive and hostile.

 
 

Paine Grande peak again.

 
 

View towards Lago Nordenskj÷ld, named after a Swedish scientist.

 
 

The path followed the shore of Lago Nordenskj÷ld for a short bit.

 
 

Sara, a waterfall and Los Cuernos

 
 

Los Cuernos again...

 
 

Paine Grande peak

 
 

Day 7: to Las Torres

 
 

Interesting geology

 
 

Last view of Los Cuernos and Paine Grande

 
 

At the Las Torres campsite.

 
 

Day 7: Paine Lookout

We had been looking forward to this day. This classic viewpoint is one of the most famous in all of Patagonia. We started walking before sunrise, with our headlights on. We reached the viewpoint shortly before the first sunrays appeared on the rocks.

 
 

Las Torres ("the towers")

 
 

The first rays of sun

 
 
Amazing! Some of the highest vertical rock walls in the world.
 
 

A close-up of the towers...

 
 

One more time!